What’s VitK2 about?
Like me, you have probably noticed this past year or so more reference to Vitamin K2. I have wondered what all the fuss was about and why I should care. After reading Dr Mercola’s latest newsletter, (don’t you love the way he explains things?). . .it makes sense to me now. Well, actually the relevance is many-faceted and I would recommend you go straight over and read it all yourself. What I choose to focus on is the relationship to our bones and why it is seriously positive and helpful.
Just because I don’t speak of it much anymore, doesn’t mean that I don’t STILL worry about Sally Field (2-25-09) but I do respect everybody’s right to do, act and think as they please, it remains a precious right. Not just my thinking and/or Dr. McDougall – go see what Dr Mercola says – - pretty much the same thing – stay away from that whole class of pharmaceuticals which some ill-advised doctors are advocating to “strengthen” your bones, up the density and prevent your bones from breaking. It is so not right! Having covered this topic frequently, I won’t go into it again now. If you really want the gorgeously scientific explanation on it run on over to The Paleo Diet and check out Loren Cordain’s archives on bones and how living the Paleo way eliminates all that and why. We have some great minds at work amongst us – we are living in an age which in many ways is blessed.
Dr Cordain explained about the way healthy bones take care of themselves – it’s built into the cells memory banks and they have much to do, some of which is tearing down old cells of bones and building up new cells in an ongoing process. They know what they are doing and have to maintain a balance. Our main job is simply to supply healthy, organic sustenance and to move the body around to keep it healthy while enjoying life. But when taking that class of bone strengthening meds, the bones can no longer break down the old cells and build the new because the meds inhibit them from functioning, consequently,the thinking is – the bones get denser, which protects from fracturing. Trouble is, there have been many fractures occur in these women who have been taking the meds for years – some, more than ten years and they are breaking in unusual places, like in the upper thigh bones. It’s a real problem. It doesn’t pay to mess around with Mother Nature.
The Calcium Trap
A further mistake our rigid medical establishment thrusts on an unsuspecting public is the “Food Pyramid” and the RDA’s for vitamin and mineral needs. There isn’t an ounce of relevance between them. But especially harmful is the encouragement to take lots of Calcium (because bones seem to be made of mostly calcium.) Please remember that huge animals like cows and elephants, etc., forage from the fields of green growing flora. Somehow they manage to grow solid, healthy structures of bone that lasts them well for a lifetime without ever taking calcium tablets, or eating ground up shells or rocks. Just plants. Let us not forget that humans are a part of that animal classification. Plants give us all the minerals we need to manifest a healthy bone structure. To repeat myself for which I apologize – I take no calcium, do not use dairy – - and my bones are fine – so far. . . . and it was Dr McDougall tapes I bought back in the early 90′s which set me free on that one.
(I’ll be getting back to K2 any minute now, just hold on!) I’m trying to get to a point. Here and there I have mentioned David Wolfe (google him) and some of the great ideas I have picked up listening to his interviews and videos (see YouTube). In his talks, he speaks of the great harm that over-calcified people are suffering. He describes the taking of increasing amounts of calcium as one of the major cause areas of a number of diseases with which our species is afflicted. This excess of calcium is gathering in clumps around our joints (arthritis); plaque build-up in our arteries causing hardening and thickening because it shouldn’t be there. And it causes inflammation. So rather than increasing our intake of calcium – we should be looking to find ways to to rid ourselves of the over supply we now have.
David has a number of suggestions. . . anti-inflammatory supplements help break down the calcium stored in the tissues:
- MSM (I use the powder about 1/2 tsp 1 or 2 X daily) Take with Vit C 1/4 tsp = 1,000 Mg
- Vit C (great anti-inflammatory)
- all kinds of mushsrooms, reishi, cordaceps, maitaki and so on (great to ramp up immunity)
- Acai (can be powerful even break down Cancer cells)
- Oceans Alive “marine phytoplankton” (David takes this)
I can’t really advise on any of this, you are kinda on your own. I listened to an interview Dr Mercola did with him recently – maybe it is on his site.
A further step in the equation of inflammation and calcium is the “acid/base balance”. If the foods one eats result in a net acid load (meats, fish, eggs, dairy, potatoes, legumes and grains and sugars without the necessary offsetting of fruits and vegetables in proportionate amounts – then the high blood insulin levels cause calcium loss. The acid must be buffered by base in the body like calcium salts which are released from bones and eliminated in urine. This will lead to osteopenia and ultimately, osteoporosis. The bones are programmed to maintain the calcium balance, and so they do just that no matter what it costs the body.
When the body is in acid/base balance, it is naturally in calcium balance. It is just that simple. When you can see the big picture even in a small way, it becomes easier to understand why it is so important to become familiar with a few basics like acid/base balance, food combining, glycemic index and so on.
Dr Mercola – small extrapolation – on VitK2
Vitamin K is unique because it has multiple effects in your body, but doesn’t demonstrate any known toxicity. With research focused on potential effects on your skeletal system, brain, liver, and pancreas, vitamin K is one of the most promising nutrients of our time.*
The vitamin K which I recommend is vitamin K2 – natural, non-toxic, and made in your body as well.
Vitamin K2 includes several menaquinones (MK-n, with the ‘n’ determined by the number of prenyl side chains), such as MK-4 found in meats, MK-7, MK-8, and MK-9 found in fermented food products like cheese and natto.
- Promote your heart health*
- Protect and support your skin*
- Provide the calcium path ‘key’ from your bloodstream to your bones*
- Boost your overall immune system*
- Help regulate calcification of your tissues*
- Provide you powerful antioxidant benefits*
- Protect your cells against oxidative damage*
- Aid in supporting your already normal blood sugar levels*
While other nutrients are important for maintaining and promoting your bone health (like vitamin D3, calcium, and magnesium), evidence continues to grow indicating a vital role vitamin K plays in bone metabolism and healthy bone growth.* In fact it may be the modern day “missing link” to increasing your bone density. Vitamin K has been linked to osteoblasts, the cells that generate or ‘lay down’ bone and produce a specific protein known as osteocalcin.*
You can think of osteocalcin like the studs in the wall of your house. Basically, osteocalcin acts as the structural framework holding calcium in place in your bones.* And vitamin K is critical for producing osteocalcin protein.* Why is this so important? Because osteocalcin cannot perform its job until vitamin K converts it to an active bone-building form.
The bottom line – vitamin K is the ‘key’ that unlocks the door from your bloodstream to let calcium flow into your bones and bone marrow.*
Without this vitamin K key action, you simply wouldn’t have the strong bones you do.* Plus, there’s another area vitamin K plays an important role, particularly vitamin K2. I mentioned earlier how osteoblasts are important cells responsible for bone formation. Well, while these osteoblast cells are busy building bone, other cells called osteoclasts are trying to break down bone and remove bone tissue.
Vitamin K2 is so important because, not only has it been shown to stimulate and enhance osteocalcin production, it has also been shown to inhibit osteoclasts and help maintain your bones.*
In his article on K2, Dr Mercola explains that he has produced a special K2 available per his specifications and advises certain foods where we can help ourselves to be sure to get this element into our diets. It adds an additional amount to our monthly budget which in these days is a touchy thing. One can eat certain soy products which I won’t do as I can not trust soy any longer due to GMO status. The fact that it is fermented doesn’t help me – it starts off genetically modified – it can’t get better from there. Eating large volumes of green leafy won’t do it either because I just can’t eat that much! The solution is to ingest fermented veggies which I already do. In point of fact, this may attest to the status of my bones being as healthy as they are at my ripe old age. (I’ll never tell. . . but the market crashed with my entrance to the planet)
Many people can’t find the time to do the fermented veggies routine. You can enlist some best buddies to do it with you – many hands make light work. Then both families have a supply. I have some recipes up somewhere on my blog and Wholesome Goodness still has all those fabulous recipes up even though she has quit blogging for now – doing other things. Alison’s tutorial is what got me going and thru it. And it was her encouragement when I emailed her with my stunned amazement at how bad it tasted after all that effort and expense! She admitted it is an acquired taste. Lets not forget, most of us have lived a lifetime relishing tantalizing, exotic and “sweet” flavors. So it takes a little training to accustom ourselves to a new and very different set of flavors. I have an iron will and I was not going to be cheated out of my desire for better health that I sought which Donna Gates at Body Ecology had espoused (and taught). I have explained this before – - but by the time Alison had got back to emailing me with suggestions on how I could swallow the stuff, I had already overcome my aversion and now craved it. Apparently, my body was so grateful for it. It cleared up my particular intestinal problems and I know that I have become healthier because of them. When one has a healthy intestinal tract, it means you can actually benefit from the good foods you ingest, for this is the very home of the immune system. If it isn’t workin right, you feel like crap.
And one can get creative. Some people make it without cabbage. Some use lots of carrots and apples and so on. There are endless possibilities. I use cabbage, but each batch is different, because I like variety and trying new ideas. I’m all talked out. . . . .
Take care of those bones. . . . . Jan